Actress Evan Rachel Wood has called on men across the world to help identify incidents of sexual assault or harassment in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.
The Hollywood producer has been fired from his job at The Weinstein Company, the firm he co-founded, after details about three decades-worth of allegations against Harvey were made public in a New York Times expose last week (ends06Oct17). Actresses including Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow have since also joined the likes of Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan in opening up about their own inappropriate encounters with the disgraced movie studio boss earlier on in their careers.
Evan shared her thoughts on the controversy in a lengthy video posted on YouTube on Wednesday (11Oct17), when the 30-year-old, who revealed last year (16) she is a rape survivor, admitted she had heard rumblings about Weinstein's bad behaviour for years.
"I've heard numerous stories about Harvey Weinstein, and I'm pretty sure everyone I know has as well," she explained. "It was so normalised and was talked about in such a way that when you're warned about Harvey Weinstein - because most actresses are, that's just the truth - it's passed off as, 'Oh, that's crazy Harvey! Everybody knows, just be careful around that one!'"
Evan claims her male peers in Hollywood were even more blase about the rumours, and thought Weinstein just liked to "hit on girls a lot" - without fully understanding what that might entail.
"OK, sure, he hit on girls a lot, but what does that actually mean...?," she asked. "Did he go over there and introduce himself and ask their names and what they did? Or did he grope them inappropriately, or did he offer them money or offer them favours in exchange for sex? That's not hitting on women, that's being a sexual predator and that's abusing your power and cornering vulnerable women into submission."
The Westworld star goes on to explain how harrowing it can be for victims to come to terms with their sexual assault or harassment, preventing them from speaking out sooner to name and shame their perpetrators, while admitting that doing so could also cause them to lose everything they've worked for - a fear she has experienced first-hand as she is not yet ready to confront her attackers in public.
"When you and your livelihood are at stake, when your reputation is at stake, when your job is at stake, do you know how scared you are of losing that (if you speak out against your abuser)...? What do you do?," she said. "These are the thoughts that go through so many women's minds, that's why we need to make people feel safe enough to come forward..."
"I'm here to tell you that I'm afraid, and I don't think that's my fault," she concluded her message. "I'm here to tell you that I'm afraid so that we can identify the problem."